The Gunga Din, Introducing The Gunga Din; Scarnella


By PopMatters Staff

(Smells Like)
by Sarah Zupko


Blending post-punk and new wave in equal potent doses, The Gunga Din have roared out of the gate with an engaging and always-interesting debut. The New York band derives it eclectic approach from the diverse backgrounds of its members (including folks from God Is My Co-Pilot, The Swans, and Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds) and the spectacularly haunting voice of Siobhan Duffy. Sparkly synthesizer lines, accented by horns, punctuate hypnotic melodies and funky rhythms as on “Gilded Cage.” Elsewhere propulsive psychobilly guitar riffage livens up the proceedings (“Deadbeat Daddy”) and stark angular guitars accent trancey keyboards and samples on the instrumental “Out To Sea.”

Trolling similar stylistic ground as the Gunga Din, Scarnella’s debut is awash in trippy, chaotic, sharp soundscapes. Beginning in moments of near silence and exploding into emotion-laced cacophony, these improvisational tunes are a collaboration between the Geraldine Fibbers’ Carla Bozulich and Nels Cline, whose avant-garde guitar stylings are colored by a dizzying array of effects pedals. Traces of worldly ambient vibes course through “Improvisation,” while every track plays with dynamics in unexpected ways. Bozulich’s emotive voice is a choice counterpoint to Cline’s sonic experiments.

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